LEIGH based charity, Serving the Homeless, held its annual fund raising Flower and Craft Festival at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Leigh Road.
Among the visitors enjoying the various displays was Anna Firth, Southend West’s MP, who visited the Festival to show her support for the Charity.
Coun Bernard Arscott, Chairman of Leigh Town Council, who made Serving the Homeless his chosen charity for the year, also attended the event.
Among the floral arrangements was a major display produced by some of HARP’s service users. HARP is Southend City’s leading charity for helping local homeless people.
Jo Ronan, an original Serving the Homeless supporter explained to Ms Firth and Coun Arscott how the charity had been instrumental in helping to launch HARP around 33 years ago and how their fundraising efforts continue to support the charity today.
She said: “33 years ago we gave them 13 properties that we bought, back when properties were cheap, as their portfolio, so that they could then start applying for funds.
“Because unless you’ve got assets, you can’t get grants or loans or stuff like that. So we were like one of the kick starters.”
Damon Starky from HARP, who organised the HARP & Soul display said: “The flower display that we’ve done for today involves the logo HARP & Soul, and one of the great things about that is, it came to mind while we were doing the project, that we’re about to open a new premises in Southend Highstreet, before Christmas.
“It’s going to have a café on the ground floor where service users can do work placements. It’s going to have training there. Our office guys are going to be based there with some of our project teams and also we’re going to run groups and interventions for guys who are either accommodated by us, or are suffering homelessness.
“One of the principal things with this, is that we’re going to have an assessment hub there, which is going to be for those who are facing eviction possibly, or they’ve got an issue, so under the remit of Tenancy Sustainment and Eviction Prevention, they’re going to be assessed and supported with what work they do there and then we’re going to be able to send people on to where they need to go.
“That’s going to be called HARP & Soul, so it tied up really beautifully in my mind and with the service users and with the residents.”
Coun Arscott said: “Serving the Homeless is a great local charity that works with homeless people.
“It does a lot of work with young people, which is important, to actually give them a good start in life and to actually get them back on track.
“I think it’s a really good project and obviously I hope they carry on going from strength to strength.”
Serving the Homeless received just over £430 in donations during the festival, which will be used to help tackle homelessness locally.
Always keen to raise further funds the charity would be grateful for any donations, which can be made by paying into the charity’s bank account, Sort Code 30 00 09 and Account Number 00226011.
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